BACKGROUND This is the second Wynn property in Macau – the first, Wynn Macau, opened in 2006 on the SAR’s peninsula. Wynn Palace opened on August 22 and cost US$4.2 billion, making it the most expensive property so far in Macau. As such it aims to “set a new standard for luxury and elegance”.
WHERE IS IT? On the Cotai Strip but not on the main drag, it’s set back on the eastern side of the reclaimed land – in fact it is the closest hotel to Macau airport and the Taipa Ferry Terminal, which is only five minutes’ drive away.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opulent. And some. The entire property is designed around a floral theme – there is colour everywhere and in all elements of the hotel’s décor, and real flowers are used in abundance throughout, hanging from the walls and lining open areas.
Amazing floral sculptures created by floral designer Preston Bailey (see the carousel pictured below) are placed strategically around the hotel and are switched every six weeks (there are seven at present with more planned), and a 3.2-hectare “performance lake” fronts the property, circled by a cable car called SkyCab that stops at both street level and an upper level of the hotel, so you can arrive that way if you wish, passing giant golden dragons on the way. The lake has a water, music and light show that runs every half-hour from noon to 7pm and then every 20 minutes until midnight.
Both antique and modern art from Steve Wynn’s collection is displayed throughout the hotel – there are some amazing pieces, which makes walking around a treat because you never know what you may discover round the next corner.
THE ROOM There are 1,706 rooms, suites and garden villas – which in this part of Macau is a middling size for a hotel. Standard Palace rooms range from 68-78 sqm; I was in a Fountain suite (85-107 sqm) with impressive views over the performance lake to the forest of hotels and resorts that make up the main Cotai Strip beyond. Rooms are decorated in one of four colours: sunrise yellow, sunset orange, peacock blue and Wynn gold.
Mine was yellow… very yellow. It was a bit of a shock on first entry; the walls and carpet were yellow, and bright gold accents were everywhere, along with gleaming white furniture and decorations. Plenty of large mirrors added to the glitz.
Entry is into a marbled area with wardrobe and suitcase shelf, off which is the spacious bathroom – also marble, housing a deep bathtub (with armrests), good walk-in shower, twin sinks separated by a high chair and vanity mirror. The main wall mirror houses a TV with its own remote control so you can watch in the bath, and Coco and Tonka bean bathroom products are made especially for Wynn by Molton Brown.
The bedroom area is set back from the floor-to-ceiling windows, which are in the living room area. Heavy doors can be closed to separate the two “rooms”, which means a completely dark room to sleep in if you like that – and protection from the sound of the ongoing performance lake shows if you want to retire before midnight.
The work desk, by the window in the living room, was huge and marble-topped, with a comfy chair, a very useful USB multiple adapter cable in the drawer, and universal sockets, HDMI and USB ports that emerged from a golden panel on the desktop at the touch of a button (these were also present on the bedside tables). On one table was a Bang & Olufsen sound system with both cables and Bluetooth connectivity; I linked it to my iPhone easily and the sound was excellent, filling the whole suite. Two enormous 65-inch TVs are wall mounted in the bedroom area and living room, and wifi is fast and free throughout the hotel.
Three non-movable touchscreen tablets in each suite area control the lights, curtains, room temp, etc – they are intuitive and simple to use, unlike some others I’ve grappled with. A curious quirk comes when you open the drawers where the snacks and drinks are located. Neatly placed in rows, they use a sensor system – take a box of cookies or sweets out for more than 60 seconds and you are charged for them automatically.
This is a lot of room for your money – it’s spacious, very well appointed and full of character – once you’ve got over the colourful assault on your senses!
RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are nine restaurants and one bar, as well as a couple of patisseries. Wing Lei Palace offers fine Cantonese dining and a superb tea selection in a luxuriant jade-toned dining room with superb views out onto the performance lake. Andrea’s (named after Wynn’s wife) cooks up a fusion of regional Chinese dishes with a Western presentation, while for Japanese cuisine there’s Mizumi and Sushi Mizumi, which boasts eight Japanese master chefs in its kitchen.
Having been very impressed by Wing Lei Palace’s dim sum lunch menu, I tried the hotel’s steak and seafood restaurant, called SW, in the evening. Along with a superlative seafood selection, steaks from Japan, Australia and the US were available.
The food – and wine, selected by our sommelier – was of a very high standard, but the dining experience was augmented by two-minute cabaret-style shows every 30 minutes, featuring a combination of animation and animatronix on a small stage at the side of the restaurant. This unique offering encouraged enthusiastic discussion amongst our small group and was well received by the diners. A bold, interesting concept.
Cafe Fontana is the all-day dining restaurant where a wide-ranging, excellent breakfast is served – it also has great views onto the performance lake – and there are a few other eateries in the casino area and elsewhere serving ramen noodles and Chinese food, plus a pool café.
The Wing Lei Bar is a small, opulent lounge whose focal point is an 18th-century crystal chandelier, and which serves fine malt whiskies and classic Champagnes, among many other options.
MEETING FACILITIES All the meeting facilities are on the first floor, accessed by a dedicated escalator. There are four meeting rooms which can be configured in ten different ways (they all have outdoor balcony areas), two boardrooms and a ballroom called the Grand Theatre with it’s own stage, which can cater to 1,200 people theatre-style.
LEISURE FACILITIES On the second floor is the Spa at Wynn Palace, which is dark, luxurious and refined. There are 22 treatment rooms, and men and women’s sections are separated, each containing hot/cold plunge pools, steam rooms and saunas.
Next door is the fitness centre (open 6am-10.30pm) with Cybex equipment (including three running and three cross-training machines) as well as Pilates apparatus. The swimming pool is also on the second floor – a large, resort-style pool that would allow for good lap swimming during quiet times of day.
Finally, there is just under 46,000 sqm of casino space on the ground floor, with all the usual tables and slot machines catered for; and 18,580 sqm of retail space surrounding it, boasting all the high-end brand names you can think of.
VERDICT A glitzy property that is more luxurious than the Parisian and Venetian resorts (though pricier). Its floral-chinoiserie design concept may be too much for some, and, like the Parisian (which I reviewed recently) it is not really a business traveller’s destination. However, I was charmed by its exuberant style, was impressed with the F&B options, and thought the rooms were superior to many on the Cotai Strip. For events or a leisure getaway, Wynn Palace makes a strong argument for serious consideration in Macau’s hugely competitive market.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-October in a Fountain suite start from HK$2,631 (US$339) including taxes and surcharges.
CONTACT Avenida da Nave Desportiva, Cotai; tel +853 8889 8889; wynnpalace.com